Lindsey is a mom of five children and a freelance writer with a passion for many topics.
Kindergarten is a big step for kids, and it seems that there is more and more to know before a child enters. It’s not just academic skills that children need; they also have to have a myriad of social and personal skills to be successful. If a child is in preschool, then they already have a leg up when it comes to social and academic skills. If they haven’t had a chance to attend preschool, there’s no need to panic. There are three major categories to consider: personal care, social, and academic skills. Here’s a list of things your child should know before entering kindergarten.
This is an important section because this is where children will need personal responsibility. When they enter kindergarten, there are many things that a teacher won’t be able to help with and learning these can make the school experience go smoothly.
- Potty trained - Children need to be able to use the potty without any help. That means that they can wipe, pull-up and button their own pants, flush (they will forget sometimes, that’s okay), and wash their hands.
- Hand washing -This plays into bathroom time but there are times when things will get messy in the classroom. There will be a sink nearby for students to wash their hands. Children should know the proper way to clean their hands off. It’s okay if they still need a little help.
- Able to put on outerwear - This means putting on their coats, gloves, and hats when it’s needed. In a large class, it can be hard for the teacher to help everyone and still get that recess time.
- Responsible for belongings - At this point, your child needs to remember their backpack and anything that needs to go to school and back (like a lunch box). Making them remember will ensure everything makes to school and back.
These are the skills needed to interact with other children and teachers. They will use these skills for the rest of their lives, so knowing them early will lead to less conflict between friends (not eliminate it though, they are just kids still learning).
- Sharing - In classrooms there can be a limited supply of items, sharing makes sure that everyone gets a chance to use the item.
- Taking turns - Conflict resolution. Learning to take turns can deter fights for the same objects.
- Following rules -This is important to keep kids safe in the school. If a child can’t follow the rules they can make trouble for everyone around them.
- Following directions - Making sure a child can follow directions is an important one to keep the classroom organized. Simple directions at school could be lining up or switching activities.
- Paying attention - A child entering kindergarten should be able to pay attention for at least five minutes. This includes listening to a story or focusing on a project.
- Learning to lose - Everyone loses at some point. Learning to lose and working through those emotions is useful in that it leads to better sportsmanship later in life, and also helps curve temper tantrums.
This is the section that most parents focus on, and it’s not as important at the social section. These are things that set up the foundation for their learning throughout school, but these will come, whether they known them before kindergarten or not. Knowing these will allow the class to move on academically and learn new things, but don’t worry too much if they don’t know everything listed here.
- Letter identification - Not everyone will know all their letters, upper and lowercase, but it gives a big boost to those who already know them.
- Their name - A child should be able recognize their name, and know their first and last name. If they can write their name, even better, but knowing how to read their name will help during seating placements or classroom responsibilities.
- Numbers 1-10 - A child should be able to recognize the numbers 1-10 and count to 20. This is just the beginning process of learning math.
- Colors - Knowing colors helps a child when asked for something specific. If a teacher asks a child to get an item that’s next to the purple chair they can find it easier by knowing their colors.
- Scissor use - Kids should be able to hold scissors properly and at least cut a shape pretty close to what it should be.
- Holding a pencil - Without being able to hold a pencil correctly it will be hard to learn how to write.
Kindergarten is the foundation of a child’s academic life. Here they will learn the basics of academics and how to be social. Being prepared for that will help a child adapt to the school environment. When you consider the above lists it may seem like a lot for a child to take in. In a short period, yes, it is. Preparing the year before, either at home or in a preschool will help keep them steady during this transition. Children learn through fun, so learning these important skills can be done by simple play, even if you just pick one skill to focus on for a couple hours, you’re already laying down those vital foundations.
© 2018 Lindsey Weaver